Singapore's Raintree Pictures is planning a substantial production expansion after signing a deal with Hong Kong major Media Asia.
The deal sees the two companies agree to jointly produce between four and six films per year. Production costs will be equally shared. "It resembles a first look deal, but with a commitment to a certain number of films," said Daniel Yun, chief executive of Raintree. "We have already put aside a sum of money for the slate that we produce together." Both firms are expected to bring projects to the table.
Projects, with budgets typically under $1m, may be put together as either co-productions or single country pictures, but all are likely to have a strong mix of different Asian cultures in order to maximise cross-border success.
"It worked well on The Eye, which had a mixed cast and crew, and we like this 'formula'. We want to make Asian films that are not the typical Hong Kong movie," said Yun. The handling of international sales will depend on which partner offers the better terms, but Raintree expects to retain South East Asian rights.
The Media Asia slate is the second step-up for Raintree in recent months. Earlier this year it announced a slate of four made-for-TV films co-produced with the Singapore Broadcast Authority (SBA) and the Singapore Film Commission
Raintree, which co-produced last year's festival favourite Chicken Rice War and recent hit I Not Stupid, is currently co-producing Danny Pang's Nothing To Lose with Golden Screen in Thailand; Leap Of Love, a two-hander to be co-produced with Korea's Han Mac Films and an animated feature that will be financed with the SBA.
The company, which is part of the Mediacorp Studios film, TV and music conglomerate, also aims to move into distribution.